As captains, yacht owners and crew busy themselves getting ready for the next influx of charters and offshore excursions, it’s essential to have the right 4G data package that not only ensures reliable connectivity, but has the flexibility and support required to keep guests and crew operational, safe and entertained.
Group CEO, David Savage, offers his top tips to consider when navigating the myriad of onboard 4G data packages available.
1 – Network speed and performance when international roaming
Most mobile network operators use ‘steered’ roaming, which means they will always look to switch you to their preferred partner. The main issue here is that the ‘preferred’ option is invariably not the most robust option meaning you may be forced onto a weak signal.
This can impact the onboard experience significantly and leave you frustrated when you can’t stream a film, or even get the connectivity you want to keep in touch with friends and family.
You could instead try an ‘unsteered’ SIM that has no priority network and will switch you automatically between the best, and strongest signals available.
2 – Overcoming network not-spots
You may know the route like the back of your hand, and therefore you’ll know where the ‘not spots’ are as it’s unlikely you’ll be navigating uncharted territory. However, being prepared for all eventualities will ensure that you, your crew and your guests will always be connected whilst in an area with network coverage.
Our unsteered SIM harnesses all the major networks in Europe, so if you find yourself in an area of poor coverage, you can rest assured that you will automatically be moved on to the strongest network available.
3 – Avoid cheap consumer grade ‘pay as you go’ and ‘unlimited data plans’
One of the most common mistakes people make is that they leave buying a data package ‘til the very last minute and can end up with a ‘pay as you go’ package that may run out and leave you with no means of topping up.
Another mistake is opting for unlimited data on a consumer grade plan. Unlimited data plans always include a caveat which is usually that the network provider will slow down your service if you exceed their cap – this is known as a ‘fair usage policy’. Whilst they do not restrict the amount of data you have, they will significantly reduce the speed often to something barely usable.
If on a yacht you are using a cheap unlimited data SIM, it is only a matter of time before you reach what would be considered an unreasonable amount of data and could lose your service entirely.
Remember, if that dock-side deal appears too good to be true then it most probably is. In an environment where everything needs to be instant, poor and unreliable internet is not acceptable – these cheap unlimited data SIMs pose a huge risk.
Our 4G Extra service is designed for high usage whilst roaming between different territories and we will never slow you down no matter what.
4 – Does your plan offer the flexibility you deserve?
It’s crucial to understand what a package will give you and that it offers all the flexibility you need. We offer a range of packages designed for busy yachts on the go that are simple, cost effective and with no confusing charges.
We can offer as little or as much data as you need. If you don’t require lots of data all of the time, then a pay as you go with the ability to ‘top up’ as and when needed might be best for you.
If you regularly have a lot of guests onboard, doing a lot of browsing or wanting to stream videos, a 6-month or 12-month pooled plan with a high data allowance will be the most cost effective. For more information, see our tariff guide.
5 – How robust is your support?
Finally – how robust is the support you have just invested in? With us, our team monitors usage in virtual real-time to ensure you’re getting the best value from your contract.
Everything is done remotely – in fact, you’ll not even realise we’ve kept you connected it’s that seamless – If ever you’re running low on data, you’ll be notified to ensure all critical onboard applications and services stay online. In fact, we can provide access to a portal which enables yacht owners and captains to view their 4G data consumption for themselves.
To find out more about our 4G data roaming packages, and to stay connected – click here